Tortured by Tear Troughs No More! - New York, NY

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*Treatment results may vary

Preface: I am a 22 years old female, non smoker,...

Preface: I am a 22 years old female, non smoker, don't drink or do drugs, am healthy and in great shape.

My whole life I've had somewhat dark circles, but they never were a problem since they are easily covered with concealer. But as I entered my mid-teens I was losing baby fat and then some (admittedly in an unhealthy way- I had anorexia nervosa which contributed to immense physical scrutiny on my part); the mania that follows depriving your body of nutrients led my mind to become absolutely obsessive about certain body parts, specifically my under eyes which had lost much volume due to the weight drop. Looking back now at baby pictures I can see that I always had slight dark circles under my eye and what some may harshly call "tear trough deformity" but it certainly never bothered me then and nobody ever gave me cause to be self conscious.

Anyway- after the hollows became more apparent I became obsessed with trying to conceal them. Like a sick person. I would show up late for school every day because I was trying to hide my under eye circles with makeup, I'd have my makeup and mirror out in nearly every class for touching up, I would have a panic attack if I went somewhere without my concealer and a mirror nearby. I knew that hollowness reacted to lighting more than anything and makeup simply cannot cover up shadow, but hey, my mind was clearly warped with lots of things and so I chose to believe that I could hide my under eyes if I had just enough makeup on.

Well- that was a long time ago. I am happy to say that since then I have completely, 100% recovered from my eating disorder, have shed the crippling body dysmorphia and lack of confidence and I have since graduated from the top fashion design school in the country this year and am now making my living from the women's t-shirt business I started. The girl I was as a teenager is like a stranger to me, except for that one lingering fixation: my under eye hollows.

Surgery/ injections weren't an option for me since I was submerged in school work and internships for my 4 years of college, and my parents were not willing to pay for me to get any type of surgical procedure because they felt it was something I should pay for myself (but my mother always filled my Christmas stockings with the latest dark circle treatment creams and volume restorers which sadly did jack-sh*t to help my eyes.)

When my business began taking off, I immediately thought about getting my tear troughs filled because after trying everything imaginable, I felt that the least I could do was have a consultation with one of the best doctors in NYC. While I do work from home every day, I am often asked to model, act and partake in really fabulous shoots with photographers. I am a somewhat prominent figure in the blogging community as well as the cosplay community and my pictures/ looks are honestly probably 40% of the reason why I've gotten the recognition I've gotten thus far. But without good lighting or a bright camera flash, all I can see is hollow, tired, old eyes that reflect nothing close to the woman I am inside. It makes me avoid photoshoots of me in my designs or modeling other people's work in makeup, special FX or costume design. And after trying so hard to accept myself and work with what I had to no avail, I decided to stop trying to make myself into a martyr for being "above" surgical modification if it would make my brain shut up and focus on more important things.
So far it's been the best thing I ever bought.

After hearing nothing but amazing things on Dr. Shafer on multiple websites, I researched him and learned about his exceedingly sufficient qualifications: double board certified, graduated from the top medical schools in the country with honors, earned many awards for his surgical work, history with restoring the faces and bodies of burn victims, and this is just to name a few. I got the feeling that he was a true artist like me, and what helped me let myself do this procedure is the fact that this is his art form, it is what he is great at and loves doing. If I cannot fix it, why not go to someone who can and will? So after reading as much as I can about the procedure and making a list of questions for the doctor, I made my consultation.
That consultation was today. I anticipated just learning about the procedure and having him decide whether or not he can help me (I was actually worried I was too severe a case for him to help), but it turns out I was given the option to get the surgery the same day, which would mean that I don't pay for the consultation OR the follow up appointment, I pay for the one syringe of Juvederm, which is $1000 and is good for two separate filling sessions.
Dr. Shafer himself is a lovely person, instantly warm and attentive. Answered all of my questions and had a confidence- but not an arrogance- that quelled my anxious mind. The consultation part was not as investigative as I had imagined, but that's because I really had no idea how he would decide if/ when/ how he could improve my tear trough deformity. We talked for about 10 minutes about everything- my basic concerns, my wish to reduce the hollowness of my under eyes but not as to make me look plastic or like somebody else, what the procedure entails, the after-care. Then I decided to go for it. Especially after the consultation, I couldn't see why not do it now.

When I say that it was an easy procedure, I couldn't be more exaggerative. Getting my teeth cleaned is a tougher procedure to deal with, getting my lip pierced was a tougher procedure, getting a manicure is more arduous. It was the emotional and physical equivalent of getting my ears pierced. Now to be fair, I am not at all scared of needles and I am very tough when it comes to pain- I will wear the corset, dance in the stilettos, and endure the pain that comes before outer fabulousness. I mean, if inner fabulousness is harvested after one feels inner turmoil and hardship, why is it any different as far as our outer self satisfaction? But yet I cannot imagine even the most needle-phobic person being bothered by this. The only needle you feel is the teensy one which administers a small amount of numbing solution around the eye area, and even that prick is so slight due to the ice pack having been applied for a couple minutes prior to. Getting blood draw is more needle-happy than this, at least from what you can physically feel. After withdrawing the needle (which I could not even feel) Dr. Shafer showed me the syringe which would be administering the Juvederm Ultra. I was surprised to see that it looked like the blunt eye end of a sewing needle, and seemed a teensy bit thick, but I trusted him and felt relaxed. He explained that the needle looked that way because the product must be laid flat while being injected, and that the cannula was flexible so it could reach every essential application zone through the one tiny hole.
The sensation of the cannula in my face was very odd, but I liked it! It was new and not at all painful or uncomfortable, I'd just imagine that the more squeamish people may be a little weirded out by the sensation. It feels like something cold is wriggling around your sinuses, all the way to the bridge of your nose. And the injecting itself lasted about 5 minutes for both eyes. Like I said, simple.
When Dr. Shafer gave me the mirror to take a gander, I could see the results through my smudged makeup instantly. It was not like all of a sudden I had a 100% filled up under eye, but that is good because I do not want to hide the fact that I have eye sockets and eye sockets don't just go from your bottom lash line to your cheek. I wanted the deepness to be relieved and made less drastic, and that is what I got. I don't look like I've had anything "done", I look like the me that I see in good lighting and camera flash, like the bright, happy, alert human that I really am.
As Dr. Shafer left the room and left me alone to fix my makeup and I had thanked him profusely, I held the mirror up to myself and saw the natural lighting illuminate my makeup application. I used to abhor natural lighting, I felt it exacerbated everything I hated about my eyes, and it would get me so down. But as I touched up I was blown away with how I was not cringing at the reflection of my eyes. It was like a miracle.
When I left the office, there was still no swelling or bruising, just amazing results. Something you should know: I HATE walking outside in daylight without my sunglasses. Yes, the eye hollow obsession knows no bounds. I feel very self conscious usually when walking outside with no sunglasses, but this time I walked down 5th avenue and felt people noticing me and I did not suspect that they were looking at my horrible bags, but my energy and confidence. I decided to walk all the way back to my apartment, 30 blocks away, and I enjoyed myself the entire time. It felt so wonderful to finally be free from the psychological barrier these eye hollows had given me.

It has been 12 hours since my surgery, and I'm surprised that I have not bruised at all and have only just gotten the TINIEST bit of swelling, seeing as I bruise and swell pretty easily whenever I am injured or pierced. I noticed a very very dull, hardly noticeable tenderness/ aching to the injection site, which went away as I took a shower and very gently removed all my makeup, lightly massaged my under eyes and then put ice under my eyes as I watched TV. When I took all of my makeup off I still had dark circles, but far less dark and scary than normal. But like I said way in the beginning of this: I have accepted that I have dark circles because I am Italian and it is how my skin and facial structure are, plus the darker pigment is easily covered with concealer. What I was driven insane with was trying to conceal the shadow, which was impossible. Now there is no epic shadow, so there is no need for slathering on the concealer and touching up over and over- as of now, those dark circles are gone with a quick pat of makeup whereas before I would have to spend at LEAST a half hour on concealing to feel adequately okay.

The doctor said that the intended results won't show up for about a week, so I am keeping in mind that things may change, and I would be happy if the product did settle to the point where it gave me a tiny bit more volume. But if not, I made my follow up appointment for 2 weeks from now, and I only used half of my syringe and I can always get more injected if I still feel it's necessary. I am personally glad that my doctor has a "less is more" mentality with this because I'd MUCH rather need a little bit more than be given way too much and be left looking ridiculously unnatural.

I should also note that my dark circles are considerably worse when I'm overtired, which I am- only got 4 hours of sleep last night due to work and excitement- so I am very excited to see if things look even better with a good nights' rest!

I plan to keep this updated, to help people like me who had similar feelings about their eyes or who are similar to me in my stats and would like to see how someone like me reacts/ responds to fillers. If you've read this far, god bless you, I feel like I just wrote a college term paper. Could be because I'm running on 4 hours though...

Goodnight, all! Here's hoping for a good day tomorrow as well.

It's 2 days since my filler and I am really...

It's 2 days since my filler and I am really realizing why my doctor charges a couple hundred more than most other doctors who do this type of filler- he is an absolute master.

When I read that swelling and bruising was a possible after-effect with tear trough fillers, I had planned on being very swollen and bruised for about a week, given that I bruise/ swell pretty easily on my face, especially around the eye area. Well I am delightfully shocked to say that I still have hardly any bruising or swelling at all, and no soreness, itching, lumps or pain. It is only the slightest bluish/ purplish hue that I see under my eyes, which could very well be a bit of bruising, but it is covered up with one pat of concealer and is honestly still a huge improvement to my old dark circles. I've read that the majority of the aesthetically unpleasing effects of Juvederm in the tear trough are not due to the product/ H.A. itself but rather the sub-par skill of the injector. I believe it when they say the tear trough is an extremely tricky area to inject given how thin and thus unforgiving the skin is, which means to get a successful improvement the injector must be extremely knowledgeable in the anatomy of the eye and face as well as have the skill for knowing where and how to inject the product in just the right way. Dr. Shafer is an artist.
I am so happy with my results, I am happy with choosing to go with the more expensive but more well-reputed doctor, and if I were to recommend tear trough fillers for someone young or old, I would advise them to get it done by a master or not get it done at all. Your eyes are the windows to your soul, you don't want to mess them up because you wanted to save some money in fixing them up!

Hi all! It's been nearly 2 weeks since the...

Hi all! It's been nearly 2 weeks since the procedure and 2 days before my follow-up appointment.
I mentioned before that I might want to get a little more volume if anything, but I am very glad I didn't because it did actually take nearly 2 weeks (as he predicted) for me to see the actual full results.

Before I mentioned that the fillers did not help with under-eye circles, but what I was actually seeing was light bruising which lightened over time and in the mean time was extremely easy to cover with make up. One eye had a tiny bit of purplish/ then yellowish bruising but it was such a tiny bit that it was almost funny. The bruising didn't show up for almost a week, but then took a few days to disappear (during the time after the bruising I steered clear of aspirin because it is a blood thinner and prolongs bruising). So I actually did notice that my under eye darkness is a whole lot better! It took about 2 weeks like I said, but it's really more of an extra pleasant surprise.

As for the volume restoration- It's definitely filled out since my initial days post-injection, which I am very happy with. HOWEVER- I will say that the product does seem to react to fluid intake and salt intake, like the natural body, and the few days before my period when my body retains water I noticed a *very very slight* puffiness of the eyes. Seriously not noticeable to anyone but me, but actually I did not have a problem with it because in a very odd way it made me feel better... because people without tear trough deformity usually do have slightly puffy undereyes when they first wake up or feel bloated, so it was a weird kind of affirmation. Of course it did go down with movement and just going about my day, so this is not a complaint- just a note!

I initially said that I saw a small (albeit very natural looking) hollow under the eye which I was fine with because- hello- I DO have an eye socket- but with time it definitely did fill in a little more which is great, and it still looks like a normal eye socket, just not one so severely depressed!

So I have a question if anyone actually read this far: I will not be using the other half of my syringe of Juvederm on my tear troughs, and I really can't think of an area I need it or think it would do any help with. I was toying with the idea of filling my top lip a teeny bit, but do NOT want to end up with Lana Del Rey lip. But I don't want to waste what I already paid for! Any suggestions?

Going for Part 2!

Hello again, lovelies! It's been a little less than a year since my Juvederm procedure for my undereye hollows, and it's definitely time for a touch up. Dr. Shafer told me during my appointment on December 20 of last year that the product technically stays in your body for 12 months, but the effects begin to go away after about 6 months. I'm definitely noticing that the ol' hollows are coming back, but there's still some improvement from the bit of product left in there, so it's nice to know that the effects can certainly remain long after 6 months. The only thing now is that after having to dip into my savings to take care of a pet's health emergency, I'm not at the ideal financial situation to gift myself another $1000 treatment. I am considering looking at other injectors in NYC, which I know won't be much more of a bargain than that if they're any good, but I'm definitely going to peruse the Juvederm section of RealSelf and see who among my NYC neighbors might have a good board certified plastic surgeon that can offer this procedure for less than $1000 but comes with shining reviews like my first doctor. If not, I guess I will have to cut down on other spending and work even harder, the way I feel when my eyes look alert and youthful and happy are worth it by far.

Booked my annual appointment- Trying a new doctor.

Hey beauties-- I've decided to get another round of tear trough fillers, but after lots of consideration and research I've decided to try a new doctor. My feelings about Dr. Shafer haven't changed at all, he was excellent and as you can see I was positively psyched with my results, but out of curiosity and the sake of comparison shopping I decided to try a new doctor, and a new product for my tear troughs: Restalyne (I had Juvederm before). After scouring the reviews for tear trough fillers around the country I became increasingly interested in Restalyne- it seemed like, given that you were being injected by a masterful doctor with tons of experience with the procedure, this product was more appropriate for a young person's under eye hollows because apparently it is less likely to migrate or move, which my Juvederm seemed to do under my right eye after a couple months. Dr. Shafer was very sure of Juvederm in that area and it didn't seem like he would even give Restalyne a second thought during our consultation, and that's cool because I know each doctor has their own preferences etc, but I am curious to find out for myself which HA filler is best for *me*.
I am going to a female doctor this time, a board certified dermatologist I found on this site, Dr. Michele Green. Her prices were just a little bit lower, which I know isn't the greatest way to go about purchasing filler treatments but it was a factor of importance to me, and I didn't feel like it was going to compromise my results. Her answers about fillers were detailed and personable, her reviews were wonderful and her experience is extensive. Plus, for me there is just something about having a female doctor that is a tiny bit more comforting than a male-- there is a natural personal understanding and resonance with what women want in terms of their physical appearance.
I scheduled my appointment over the phone with a charming secretary and was told to come in an hour early to make sure I am sufficiently numbed, as per Dr. Green's insistence. I found that to be extremely caring- not that I necessarily need it since I don't mind pain during medical procedures nor is it some huge scary syringe, but I remember last year Dr. Shafer had me ice my eyes for about two minutes after spending about 5 minutes consulting about what I wanted done. I felt like that was adequate. Hell, an entire hour early to be suffificently iced makes my colorful mind jump to cartoonish scenarios of me being strapped to a twisted chair bolted to a black and white checkered linoleum floor, eyes numb and blue from an hour of ice sitting on my face, when suddenly through a tall and slanted doorway a silhouette shows up as lightning bolts strike-- Dr. Greene, with black latex scrubs on and a crazed look in her eye. She holds a shiny pink syringe marked "MAKE ME PRETTY" and wields it over her shoulder like a shotgun. "You're not gonna feel a thing, dear" she snarls, "...Ever. Again."
I'm sorry, I'm really in the Halloween spirit and I'm officially trying to kill time waiting for my laundry to be done. In all seriousness though, I know she's just being cautious and well prepared- I have a lot of confidence in her and hope that she can both fill me up and still make me look like all I've had was a really good rest. I will let you know how it went as soon as I can, pictures and all!

I am finally getting fillers again!!

Hey, all! So I've commented on this post (originally posted in December 2012) (!!!!) a couple times talking about how I wish I could get tear trough fillers again, and I'm happy to say that I am!

I live in NYC and as I've mentioned, a syringe of a HA is pretty expensive here. I've been saving up since starting an awesome new job, but I actually decided to go to a different plastic surgeon in New Jersey, one whom I completely trust (and is conveniently less expensive, because NJ is not quite a beauty capital like NYC?). I've booked my appointment for Monday, June 29th, and I am SO FREAKING EXCITED.

This time I am trying Restalyne in my (once again, very sunken, very dark, very VERY irritating) tear troughs, as I've heard it lasts a little longer than Juvederm (what I previously had and felt lasted visually for almost a year). A good friend of mine has had Restalyne in her tear troughs and absolutely recommended it. The plastic surgeon I am going to is a woman named Dr. Friedlander, she is board certified with great reviews here, plus my own mommy is a patient of her's! (Mom is considerably less vain than me, but she did have a blepharoplasty by this doctor about 10 years ago which looked awesome, and just got a chemical peel by her which she is very pleased with.)

I am 25 years old now, so I honestly can't tell if my tear troughs have gotten worse than they were when I was 22 (I've been taking very good care of my skin the past couple years, especially the eye area), but all I know is I am once again Tortured by Tear Troughs. When I get them filled I'd like to write more of a personal entry explaining some of my views on self-image, self-expression and societal influence over what we deem "flaws", but I need some fresh inspiration to really churn that out. I'll get that inspiration injected into my face next week.

I am also MAYBE MAYBE MAYBE… thinking of getting a tiny bit of Restalyne in my upper lip since I know I won't be using that full syringe. Here's the thing though: I can't stand obvious lip fillers. I have a really full bottom lip and with my signature over-lined lipliner trick my top lip totally looks as full (psh, I've been over-lining for years, Kylie Jenner can take several seats.)-- however I am very curious to know what I'd look like having that fuller top lip without the liner. I don't dislike my lips, and that's where I get unsure, I don't want to eff with a good thing and end up looking like a buffoon with lips like a swollen anus. We'll see. I would really just be doing it for shits and giggles because why waste the Restalyne when I already panic if my lip liner isn't in my purse? Anyone with Restalyne in the lips experience, comments are encouraged.

Alright you beautiful and intelligent creatures-- wish me luck on my trek to my homeland (NJ) and feel free to share any personal anecdotes, famous quotes, tasty baking recipes, angst haikus, or general comments.

I got the fillers and after a week, I am pretty happy!

So this time around, the process was VERY different and honestly after a couple days, I was scared that I effed up and shouldn't have spent less than before thinking for the same level of results... but I'm a silly dumbass sometimes and my worrying was totally unnecessary. So far.

So like I said, I opted to get Restalyne in my low ass tear troughs (and only my tear troughs, not my upper lip like I contemplated) whereas I previously had Juvederm. This doctor-- a board certified plastic surgeon just like my previous one-- did not inject me the way the first doc did; first time I had basically one poke and he used a cannula that distributed the Juvederm in basically one fell swoop for each eye, so healing was basically done within a day. THIS TIME, the doctor used a syringe and poked the skin to fill in, which was painful and uncomfortable, especially since the first time I felt hardly anything. My right eye was poked about 4 times which left immediate swelling and redness, my left eye required like 7 pokes which caused massive bruising and swelling, and obviously since my first experience I had no bruising or swelling I was SCARED SH*TLESS for the following days, thinking I saved $400 but got butchered in return. Good news is, I was not butchered. I'm actually pretty happy with the results so far, and I still have about a week left to see the real results.

I'll post pics of the days right after when I can, but today, 8 days after the injection, I think the right side is pretty much settled with no bruising or swelling and the right side still has a nasty red bruise but it is pretty coverable with my magical array of color corrector concealers. Swelling seems to be gone and I thought I saw and felt a lump a few days ago, but that also seems to have gone away. I think I'm seeing what happened the first time around, which was at first it was a bit puffy, then it looked like there could be a tad more filler, but then it seems to actually even out and I wouldn't think I'd need more. I would much rather look natural than be over filled (which is how I looked when I was swollen last week!), so I think I got what I wanted with that one visit and the rest of my syringe will just die a lonely, sterile dumpster death. I don't want lip injections, I don't want to go into work with the kind of swelling and bruising I'm bound to get after what my eyes looked like, I just wouldn't want it to be obvious that I got lip injections, and besides, I have nice lips :*

I guess I feel less AMAZED because this is my second time now and it's less miraculous, but it is so worth it. It seems like such a small fix but it makes such a difference to me, this was one of those severe fixations that no one ever called me out on, but it ate at me, and I feel so much better now that it has been corrected and I look like the version of myself I feel like.

Also a note on Juvederm vs. Restalyne-- it's very early to say, but I think I actually might prefer Restalyne. I think Juvederm sort of exaggerated my dark circles (perhaps it was the Tindall Effect?) and Restalyne almost seems to slightly improve them, though of course I still conceal my Italian dark circles. My doctor also said that this may last up to two years whereas Juvederm lasted about a year, so here's hoping!

So all in all, I am very glad that I did this, I plan on doing it again when needed. If sunken undereyes, abnormally low tear troughs (like mine-- basically at the cheek) and the shadows caused by them cause you lots of self consciousness, it is very worth it to get fillers. It is a simple procedure and even with the syringe technique, the healing time passes very quickly and is not massively unpleasant, just unsightly for a few days. But I went into work, covered up my right eye and let my right black and blue hang tough, I embraced that I looked like a badass and just worked the look in black leather. Builds character!
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